Elizabeth Warren tweeted this same sentiment yesterday in response to Trump tweeting out a video featuring Rep. Ilhan Omar interspersed with video of the 9/11 attack in New York. Today she’s basically saying the same thing in this video clip: “Donald Trump is trying to incite violence and to divide us and every political leader should speak out against this. The Republican leadership in Congress cannot take a pass on this.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Trump's tweet about Ilhan Omar: "Donald Trump is trying to incite violence and to divide us and every political leader should speak out against this. The Republican leadership in Congress cannot take a pass on this." https://t.co/Cwq08U6NLX pic.twitter.com/pb0nJCFZ8M
— The Hill (@thehill) April 13, 2019
This is pretty disgusting behavior. Elizabeth Warren is trying to silence her political opponents. As an attorney who ought to be at least passingly familiar with the First Amendment, she should know better. The only sign that she does know better is that she didn’t call for Trump’s tweet to be censored. Meanwhile, actress Alyssa Milano is asking her followers to report Trump’s tweet, apparently with the goal of having Twitter remove it:
What in the actual fuck!? Is this real life?!
We all need to report this tweet.
We can not normalize this behavior.
Help me process this. Please. https://t.co/xuNDKvzb3U
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 12, 2019
Some, like the fact-checkers at the Washington Post, are claiming there is some missing context which helps make sense of Rep. Omar’s words and thereby makes the criticism of her unfair. Here’s Vox’s Zack Beauchamp doing just that:
“Far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it,” Omar said at the event. “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
Sounds harmless, right? But if stripped out of the context, Omar’s phrase “some people did something” can be spun as minimizing the significance of 9/11 for both the victims and the country writ large.
It’s pure bunk (which isn’t surprising if you’ve read Vox before). Her words aren’t being “spun as minimizing” 9/11 they are minimizing 9/11. As for the context argument, context matters if something in the portion of the video which was edited out changes the meaning of the portion which was left in. In this case, Omar referred to 9/11 as “some people did something” as if it were a little league game. Nothing she said before or after makes that any better. There is no context which changes the dismissive way in which she referred to the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans. The only spin happening here is Vox’s Zack Beauchamp pretending there is some greater context being missed here. There isn’t. I posted the full video the day this became a story. Feel free to check.
Is this the most important thing happening in the world? Not remotely. But it’s not asking too much from any elected representative to show that basic decency when they speak. Rep. Omar didn’t manage to do that. Maybe she misspoke. If so, it would be easy to say so, express a little respect for the dead and move on. But we’re not seeing that. Instead, Omar and her friends AOC and Rep. Tlaib and Vox and the Washington Post are claiming criticism of her language is an attempt to get her killed. Here’s Vox:
This pile-on is more than just inaccurate — it might be downright dangerous. Just last week, federal authorities arrested a New York man for making a serious threat against Omar’s life, calling her a “terrorist” and threatening to “put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.”
That’s terrible and it has nothing whatsoever to do with her comments at the CAIR event in Los Angeles.
Speech as Violence
What the left is attempting to do is something we’ve seen on college campuses in the past few years. Left-wing campus activists now routinely claim that speech is akin to violence and that justifies them in doing their best to prevent that violence from happening. That’s why conservative speakers who are invited to campus are met with protests who attempt to shut down or disrupt their events. The idea is to preserve the safe space for progressives on campus by silencing the allegedly violent speech.
And now Rep. Omar is trying to make this happen on the national stage. Remember, Omar was employing this tactic even before Trump was involved:
This is dangerous incitement, given the death threats I face. I hope leaders of both parties will join me in condemning it.
My love and commitment to our country and that of my colleagues should never be in question. We are ALL Americans! pic.twitter.com/foTZMpiZKv
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) April 10, 2019
So you can’t criticize Rep. Omar’s comments because doing so could get her killed. Speech is an incitement to violence. The only alternative then is to shut up and say nothing. While I’m sure that would be lovely for her, imagine being a politician who can’t be criticized, it’s not how American democracy works.
Not one of the people on the left parroting this idea (that criticism incites violence) has shown any such concern about their own speech. When they spent the last 2 years claiming the president was a compromised Russian stooge, did you ever hear them hesitate on the grounds that someone might try to kill Trump? They did not. And neither should critics of Rep. Omar.
There are of course crazy people out there who are a genuine danger. We saw that in Tucson. We saw it more recently at the Alexandria baseball game where Rep. Steve Scalise was shot and almost killed by Bernie Sanders supporter. But Bernie Sanders didn’t incite that violence because he never called for a crazy person to attack Rep. Scalise. The crazy person did that on his own because he was crazy. And the same is true of the crazy person who threatened Rep. Omar. He’s a nut, but unless Trump literally recommended people attack her, he’s not inciting violence. Rep. Crenshaw got this right:
Just so we are clear on basic notions of reality:
When someone calls out a public official for things they said, it is not endangering their life or inciting violence.
Claiming otherwise is just an attempt to silence your critics.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) April 13, 2019